November 30, 2012

Blog Design Update

I am currently taking a web design class (thank you, unemployment, for the gift of free time), and it has inspired me to make some changes around the blog. After learning a little bit about the concept of user experience, and then observing how I interact with some of my favorite blogs, I came to the realization that the design of my blog made it difficult to navigate it. Readers were finding the blog through links or searches, but it appeared that they were not finding other content that was relevant to what they were looking for, even though it does exist somewhere on the blog.

So, with the goal of streamlining the blog layout and making it easier to navigate, I thought about the changes that I wanted to make to the design, and I've since started implementing them. One of the first things I did was install Google Analytics to figure out where my readers were coming from and what they were reading once they got to the blog. I highly recommend doing this because the vast amount of information that the analytics service provided was truly eye opening. I confirmed that readers were indeed leaving the blog soon after getting here via a keyword search or a link, and this is probably because the design made it difficult for them to figure out where to go next.

Armed with this information, the first change I made was put social media buttons in the side bar, close to the top where they are easy to find. Before, I had one link to my Pinterest page near the top of the side bar, but in order to find a way to subscribe to the blog (either the feed or by email), you would have to scroll all the way to the bottom. Now, those links are all in one place and easy to see. And I now also have an Instagram page (which, for some reason, seems to be themed around food and flowers at the moment), so now you can see what I am snapping pictures of!

Even though I had an "About" page before, it was outdated and needed to be freshened up. I also noticed while browsing the blogs on my reading list that it was really nice to be able to put a face to the blog. So I put a little "About Anna" blurb at the top of the side bar, and now you know what I look like! The "About" page has been updated, so go ahead and check that out.

And while you are navigating the tabs up there near the header, did you notice that I added a couple more pages? I am very excited about the new DIY Projects page, which features the projects I have tackled since starting this blog, all in one conveniently visible page. I will be adding more projects to that page as they are completed.

The new DIY Projects page!

There is also now a "Contact Me" page which has my email address. Maybe one day I will figure out how to code a nice form onto that page that people can fill out to contact me.

Another little change I made was move my blog reading list from the bottom of the page to the side bar. The reading list used to be mostly for me to keep up with the posts that my favorite bloggers were writing, but there were a couple of issues with that setup. First of all, sometimes the feeds would not update for weeks, and I would miss some posts. Secondly, I would have to keep coming back to my blog just to see if anyone posted anything, and of course I once again missed some content, since only the latest blog posts showed up. So I decided to join the twenty first century and start using the Google Reader to keep up with the blogosphere. Let's just say that I already love that system so much more, and I have no idea what took me so long to switch over. First of all, I no longer miss posts because everything I hadn't yet read is waiting for me in the Reader. Secondly, I actually spend less time catching up on blogs now since I don't have to keep clicking to multiple websites to read everything. And I think that the "Reading List" in the side bar has a cleaner look to it than the blog list at the bottom of the page. All in all, I'm very happy with this update.

I still have a few more design changes in mind, which I will hopefully be implementing in the coming weeks. So stay tuned, and I hope you find the updated blog design easier to navigate! Feedback is always welcome.

2 comments:

  1. I love it. Congratulations, it is indeed looking smooth :) Have a great weekend !

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Amanda! I'm glad you like it!

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